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NNSL Photo

Essay winners Keirra Alty and Justin Kokoszka at a news conference. - Lisa Scott/NNSL photo

Kids blast off

Local students head to Quebec for space camps

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 02/03) - Imagine getting to go up in space, instead of going to the beach this summer. That is exactly what two lucky elementary school students will be doing in July.

They laboured over essays titled "Why I want to be an astronaut", and won two coveted positions to Space Camp Canada, at the Space Science Centre in Laval, Quebec.

William McDonald student Justin Kokoszka wants to know what zero gravity feels like. The recent Grade seven graduate is thrilled now, but when his mom told him, he "wasn't that excited, because I didn't believe it at first."

Keirra Alty's sister Abigail urged her to enter, since she had been to the camp a few years ago. Alty clinched the win by including her dog Annabelle in her essay. The judges couldn't resist the idea of a girl and her dog in space.

The ten-year-old, J.H Sissons student says her friends are jealous and thinks "It will be cool to sleep and eat in outer space."

The NWT contest is sponsored by the Canadian Forces, First Air, and the Department of Education, Culture, and Employment. Pilot Dave Bowes of 440 Squadron was on hand to congratulate the winners.

Kokoszka and Alty will pack their spacesuits for Quebec for July 20-25. They will be immersed in the Cosmodome, the heart of the Space Camp and will even sleep at the centre.

They will work with astronauts on training simulators, sample freeze-dried space food, and even bunk for a night in the space capsule, just like real astronauts.

The beach may have lost its appeal for the students when they return to the North from their adventure.